How to pick the right neighborhood?

I deal with a lot of buyers as part of my business who concentrate a lot on the specific home and don’t look enough into the neighborhood other than what they have heard.  We do home inspections when we buy our home, some even fore go that, and we don’t stop to look at what amenties are included or in walking distance of the house.  Here are different aspects that I recommend my client consider when they are looking to make a purchase.

  • School ratings
  • Local businesses and services
  • New future development?
  • Infrastructure investment

Let’s take a moment and go through each of the items and review some of the sources available for the information.

School Ratings

If you have any children young or old, this is one of the aspects to consider when purchasing your next home.  A good school not only provides for healthy foundation for our next generation, it’s also a sure sign for future demand for real estate in the area.  This approach will hold true for single and multi-family homes.  It depends on the individuals that are purchasing or renting in the area hence you will see areas that are great for families or student rentals.

Following are some of the resources that I refer to when reviewing schools in different neighborhoods

There are no schools within 3 miles radius of this location.

Local Businesses and Services

Great local businesses are a good sign of a healthy neighborhood that will help your property to appreciate in value over the course of time.  There are some simple ways to see how a neighborhood is doing starting with the simplest of them all.

  • Driving through the neighborhood:  You shouldn’t see a lot of for lease signs or old for sale signs.  Commercial spaces should be plenty and filled with vendors doing well.
  • WalkScore is another great tool available to consumers for free to see what’s available in the neighborhood at what distance.
  • Yelp is also a great tool available for consumers to see what’s around and even reviewer providing comments on the businesses.

New Development

A great source of appreciations for properties are investments made in the area by developers with new condos and freehold houses.  This results in a rise in population and density resulting in more sales for local businesses.  Another aspect is people tend to remain close to where they live when they sell.  I read a survey, which I can’t reference, a while ago that stated, sellers tend to move within 3 kilometer radius to where they are selling hence we can see a huge market opening with first time buyers purchasing smaller condos who will be progressing to purchasing homes in the neighborhood.

Infrastructure Investments

A vital part of appeal to a neighborhood is it’s access to the city center and includes access to public transportation.  A property located close to subway or LRT tends to appreciate more in value than properties located further away.  I have seen numbers suggesting the best place to purchase a property is within 400 meters of a transit stop.  REIN Canada is a leading authority on the topic of investing in undervalued areas and relies heavy on data collected based on infrastructure development.

Transportation in general is a great predictor including roads and bridges being built to help flow traffic better.  Regent park is a development that comes to mind where an area in downtown Toronto is being revitalized with new development and better access with through roads to help reduce dead ends which will result in better flow and appreciation.

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